Cook book to help Sheffield’s poorest

Christine Carrack at St Wilfrid's Centre with the cookbook she has launched.
Christine Carrack at St Wilfrid's Centre with the cookbook she has launched.

A kitchen wizard has penned a cookbook aimed at some of Sheffield’s poorest and most vulnerable people.

Christine Carrick, a volunteer at St Wilfrid’s Centre in Queens Road, has concocted a list of low-cost, healthy recipes designed at city residents affected by food poverty.

The idea came after St Wilfrid’s noticed that many of the clients who come through its doors are often malnourished – or have no idea how to start cooking.

With bookshelves filled with celebrity chefs, their complicated methods and expensive ingredients, the charity, which helps homeless, socially excluded and vulnerable people, was keen to go back to basics.

In deciding on ingredients, Christine kept in mind that her target audience survives on benefits – and so some dishes use the sort of items given out at Sheffield’s food banks.

Every recipe in the new book – from fish pie or risotto to sponge cake for afters – tries to keep to a maximum cost of £2 to £3. Forget red wine jus and dauphinoise potatoes, it’s straightforward gravy and mash in Cooking With Christine.

Kevin Bradley, director of St Wilfrid’s centre, said: “There are some really vulnerable people who come to us and a lot of them can’t cook, or they have never learned how to.

“A lot live on sandwiches and burgers, whatever they can pick up. We’re always trying to emphasise the importance of a hot meal.

“We teach classes but the idea behind the book is that it gets them to transfer the skills they learn here back to their flat.

“It helps boost self-esteem. When you cook something you feel proud of yourself.”

Every client who attends cookery classes at St Wilfrid’s will receive a copy of the book free of charge, to encourage them to cook.

It will also be on sale at the centre for £4.99, with all profits going towards the fund for its residential unit.

Christine said: “It is very different to a normal cookbook.

“I work with people with learning difficulties, so it was about looking at their capabilities. It had to be basic meals and there are some which take only 10 or 15 minutes.

“There are tinned meats because you might have someone who goes to a food bank and will come back with some tins and a big bag of pasta.

“Toad in the hole has been very popular, making sure the Yorkshire pudding rises.”